Failing To Plan



Planning.  At one stage of my life I was the avid planner, enjoying the planning and dreaming for whatever expedition I was off on next nearly as much as the journey itself.  It used to drive my ex-husband crazy.  To him, planning felt rigid and controlling.  To me, it was dreaming of what could be.

Maybe it was because I realised over time that things never go to plan that I stopped planning.  Maybe it was because ‘winging it’ was always way more fun.  If you wing it for long enough you build a confidence that you can pull anything off, without planning.  That place, is a dangerous place.

I’ve been learning a lot of lessons lately in and around the value in planning.  Really planning.  Thought through, documented, challenged, agreed planning.  The painful kind that takes way too long and is laboriously painful when all you want to do is Get Going.  In capitals.

Yet the planning stage is the time in which you find out if your plan will work, before it costs you time, resource, money, friends, or whatever your half-cocked plan ends up robbing you of.  The planning stage is how you get to the end of the project and everyone has built the same thing.  And completed at the same time.  And they’re still speaking.

Most recently I’ve been spending my time delving in to the Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain philosophies.  Simple, clear cut methods of ensuring that The Goal is always in sight, with each and every member of your team confident in their role in achieving the goal.

In practicing what I preach, I have only just emerged from 2 weeks of project plan hell.  Mainly hell because I skipped the first couple steps around really confirming and documenting scope before beginning to plan, and so began the 47 versions of Microsoft Project plans.  But once we had at last an agreed plan, this past week has been a week of successful execution.  We still have a lot to learn about just what level of detail works best for us, but we’re getting there.   And this is only the beginning.


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